Charged with Trafficking Controlled Substances in Las Vegas?

Las Vegas Criminal Defense Attorneys with Decades of Experience

Trafficking in controlled substances – also known as drug trafficking – is one of the more common drug charges seen in Las Vegas courts. Drug trafficking consists of a person knowingly and intentionally possessing (actual or constructive possession), selling, manufacturing, or transporting 4 or more grams of a Schedule I controlled substance (except marijuana).

A Schedule I controlled substance for this purpose is any of the following drugs:

  • Heroin
  • Cocaine
  • Methamphetamine
  • Ecstasy / MDMA

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Mere Possession May Be Enough to Support a Trafficking Charge

In Las Vegas, a narcotics trafficking charge is somewhat of a misnomer, in that many people are surprised to find themselves charged in state court with trafficking for merely possessing an illegal drug in an amount greater than 4 grams. Therefore, while selling, manufacturing and transporting are frequently the underlying factual basis for the charge, oftentimes mere possession (either actual or constructive), is at the heart of a trafficking in controlled substance case.

Various Levels of Trafficking In Controlled Substance

A trafficking charge in Nevada state court will be charged as either: low-level trafficking, mid-level trafficking, or high-level trafficking. The level of the charge depends upon the amount of illegal drugs that law enforcement is alleging is attributable to the defendant in the case. This classification is entirely based on the alleged weight of the controlled substance.

If convicted, a person will face the following mandatory penalties:

  • Low-level drug trafficking (4-14g.): This is a category B felony. The penalties include 1-6 years of mandatory prison time and fines up to $50,000.
  • Mid-level drug trafficking (14-28g.): This is a category B felony. The penalties include 2-15 years of mandatory prison time and fines up to $100,000.
  • High-level drug trafficking (greater than 28g.): This is a category A felony. The penalties include 25 years– life in prison of mandatory prison time and fines up to $500,000.

If convicted of this charge, a person will certainly serve prison time. Probation is not an option. The trafficking in controlled substance statute requires that the sentencing judge impose a mandatory term of incarceration in the Nevada Department of Corrections.

Trafficking in Controlled Substance – Marijuana

Trafficking in a controlled substance for marijuana involves a person knowingly and intentionally possessing (actual or constructive possession), selling, manufacturing, or transporting a large amount of marijuana (100 pounds or more).

If convicted, a person will face the following mandatory penalties:

  • Low-level drug trafficking (100-2,000 pounds): This is a category C felony. The penalties include 1-5 years of mandatory prison time and fines up to $25,000.
  • Mid-level drug trafficking (2,000- 10,000 pounds): This is a category B felony. The penalties include 2-10 years of mandatory prison time and fines up to $50,000.
  • High-level drug trafficking (10,000 pounds or more): This is a category A felony. The penalties include 15 years–life in prison of mandatory prison time and fines up to $200,000.

It is important to note that in cases involving marijuana, the law requires the marijuana to be weighed minus, stems, stalks, roots, and dirt. Only marijuana that has been weighed without stalks, stems, roots, or attached dirt, can be used in a prosecution for trafficking in controlled substance. In other words, the weight element must be established by a process which weighed only the marijuana leaves.

While the weights and penalties are different for a charge involving marijuana, the requirement of a mandatory prison term is the same. If a person is convicted, probation is not an option. The sentencing judge must impose prison time in the Nevada Department of Corrections.

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